Emma Watson poses at the premiere of "Beauty and the Beast" in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 2, 2017.   Photo: Mario Anzuoni/File Photo/Reuters
Emma Watson poses at the premiere of "Beauty and the Beast" in Los Angeles, California, U.S. March 2, 2017. Photo: Mario Anzuoni/File Photo/Reuters

They don’t call it Golden Week for nothing. Daiei Film Company executive Nagata Masaichi coined the phrase in 1951 to describe the annual bump in ticket sales, and true to form, Disney’s live action version of Beauty and the Beast not only topped the Japanese charts once again on its second week, but it improved on its US$9.7 million opening.

Courtesy of the Showa Day holiday on Saturday, freeing up bank employees and post office workers to go to the movies, Beauty and the Beast brought in US$10.8 million last weekend.

And with three more public holidays to go (Constitution Memorial Day on Wednesday; Greenery Day on Thursday and Children’s Day on Friday) all the films currently on release are poised to make a bundle from Japan’s “usually-too-busy-to-go-to-the-movies” populace.

Despite substantial competition, anime Detective Conan: The Crimson Love Letter held second position this week, keeping ahead of The Fate of The Furious in third.

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Sporting the local title of Wild Speed: Ice Break, the high-octane franchise drove into Japan and clocked up US$5.6 million. That might seem like a disappointing start compared to the Korean opening of US$10.6 million (current total: US$24.4 million) and Chinese box office opening of US$190.8 million (current total: US$373.2 million), but the fact remains that figure is the biggest Japanese box office debut in The Fast and Furious series.

The most successful Japanese newcomer in the top 10 this week is Teiichi: Battle of Supreme High, which features Suda Masaki as Teiichi, a student who faces his first student election at his elite high school known for producing top-ranking politicians.

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Attracting US$1.9 million, the film was a big draw for the under-20s women who, according to the Toho cinema chain, made up 80% of the film’s audience. Toho expects that as Golden Week progresses, the market will broaden to encompass adult women.

It was also a golden weekend for Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. The film smashed Indian box office records with around US$60.8 million on its domestic opening weekend, demolishing the US$51.4 million established by Sultan last year.

With the non-resident Indian population ensuring the film is also an international hit, it will be interesting to see how the latest instalment of the Indian epic plays in China given that the first part was considered a flop at the Sino box office.

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Currently in China, Andy Lau Tak-wah is top of the box office with Herman Yau’s bomb disposal thriller, Shock Wave.

While The Fate of the Furious briefly surged back to the top of the charts on Sunday, Shock Wave has since consolidated its US$24 million opening weekend and is pulling away from the car-obsessed franchise on a cumulative total of US$35.4 million.

Since opening on April 28, Leste Chen’s science fiction thriller Battle of Memories about a novelist who starts to have recollections of unsolved murders has been a steady third, and currently has a memorable total of US$29.8 million.

With US President Donald Trump talking THAAD and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un threatening rockets, and a week to go until an election finally puts the ghost of Park Chung-hee to bed, you’d think South Koreans would have had their fill of politics.

But, while the box office has been down across the peninsula, Koreans who have elected to go to the movies have lapped up Choi Min-sik’s scenery-chewing performance in The Mayor.

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The political film which features Choi as an incumbent who decides to run for an unprecedented third term as the mayor of Seoul, had a strong weekend and is on a total of US$7.6 million.

But with yesterday’s preview screenings of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 hitting US$1.1 million Choi looks certain – more certain than the real South Korean election – to be facing a downturn in the polls.

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